Here is real data on outsourcing


A few years ago, Indian giant Tata Consultancy Services employed more Ecuadorians than U.S. workers. (Compare the chart above with the one below). That's changed.

TCS has increased the overall percentage of U.S. workers, but foreign labor, as a percentage of Tata's overall workforce of 243,545, hasn't changed all that much over the last several years. The chart above is a report to analysts from TCS's latest quarter.

Of TCS's global workforce, 92.5% are Indians; in 2009 it was 91.7%. The company had 141,642 employees at that time.

TCS gets about 53% of its revenue from North America, a relatively constant percentage.

But the broader point is this: These charts, in nutshell, illustrate how offshore outsourcing works as a global job creation engine in India

Tata is increasing its percentage of workers in the U.S., but that is something offshore firms are doing generally.  Their business model is changing. TCS and other offshore firms, are providing  higher level consulting services that require close customer interaction. These firms are also acting somewhat defensively against the threat of visa restrictions by the U.S.

TCS deserves credit for providing all this information about its workforce.

The majority of U.S. tech companies closely guard employment numbers. Most only provide global headcounts. You don't know, for instance, how many women work at large IT firms in the U.S. That's a secret. 

You can't easily determine, as well, whether U.S. tech firms are building up offshore operations at the expense of U.S. employment.  That's a secret. There are exceptions, but the general practice among U.S. tech firms is to provide as little information about their workforces as possible.

Wouldn't it be nice if President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney both called on U.S. firms to detail their employment data and produce pie charts just like TCS?  Seriously, how much would that cost?

TCS's data helps explain how the global workforce is changing.  If Americans had access to the same data from U.S. firms, it would help add clarity to outsourcing debate.  But for now, we will have to rely on TCS to explain to us how the world is changing.    


Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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